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Thursday, April 25, 2019

Martin giant tree swing 4/21/13
A tree swing on a giant Sycamore tree (Zacchaeus would have had a hard time climbing up this tree!). Our friend Jason is swinging Prentice, his 3 year old son (at the time) who kept hollering, "Higher, Higher!" Prentice' appeal for Higher, Higher prompted our song selection today.


Message summary: How healthy is your root system today?

Listen to our message on your audio player.

"But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit” (Jeremiah 17:7,8). "So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness" (Colossians 2:6,7).

Deeper, deeper in the love of Jesus
Daily let me go;
Higher, higher in the school of wisdom,
More of grace to know.

Kids climbing treeWhat is it about trees that you like? Perhaps it's their visual beauty such as the distant profile of a tree during a particular season, the color, beauty and symmetry of the leaves. Or perhaps it's the shade it provides. Trees also help to block forceful winds that come often where we live.

What a joyful memory many of us have of a tree swing or better yet a swinging tire. As children many of us enjoyed climbing trees. They served as a natural setting for a playroom with many levels. My friend Dave and I spent many hours climbing the huge Mulberry tree at the side of our house in Belton, Missouri. Brooksyne's brother built a spacious tree house for his children in their back yard that stands to this day.

We appreciate many forms of tree fruit, apples, peaches, cherries. You name it we probably like it. Not only fruit but we also enjoy the watery sap of the maple tree when it is processed into tasty maple syrup. Of course we all benefit from the products made from the wood of the tree.

RootsBut I doubt if many of us would say, "I really like tree roots!" In many instances we see roots as a nuisance. The large evergreen trees to the side of our house have many exposed roots. Exposed tree roots can heave sidewalks and driveways in the case our fence), create tripping hazards and wreck the blades of your lawn mower such a the scalping seen in the photo. But most roots of course are largely unseen. We may forget all about them till we have an occasion to dig them out and then they are really a pain!

But roots are vital to a tree's well-being and this is in turn used to describe the spiritual life. This is seen in our first daily text describing a man whose trust and confidence are in the Lord; "He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream."

Many years ago we had a discipleship class in our church prepared by the Navigators called "2:7" based on  our second daily Scripture reference, "rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness" (Colossians 2:7).

Pastor Ray Stedman, who went to be with the Lord in 1992, shared an interesting story pertaining to today's theme. I think you'll find it to be helpful and we will conclude our message with this story.

"I remember many years ago a youth conference in the Sierra Nevada. There a young man came to me and took me aside. We stood together underneath a great Douglas fir and he said, "Pastor, I don't know what is the matter with me. I want to be a good Christian, and I try hard, but somehow I just never seem to make it. I'm always doing the wrong thing. I just can't live like a Christian."

I said to him, "Well, there may be several reasons for that, but let me ask you this, first of all: What about your private life with the Lord? How well do you know the Lord? How much do you delight in reading His Word and then spending time talking to Him? Because, after all, it's not the time spent in reading the Word that's important, but it's the time spent in enjoying the presence of God that strengthens you."

He hung his head and said, "Well, I admit I don't do very much of that." Just then this very phrase from the Psalms flashed into my mind, "He shall be like a tree planted by rivers of water." I stepped back and said to him, "Look at this tree we're under. What does it remind you of? What are the qualities this tree suggests to you?"

He looked at the tremendous Douglas fir, towering up into the heavens above, and said, "Well, the first thing is, it's strong." I said, "Yes. Anything else?" "Well," he said, "it's beautiful." I said, "Exactly! Beauty and strength. Those are the two things you admire about this tree. And those are exactly the two things you want in your own life, aren't they? Beauty and strength?"  He said, "Right."

"Well," I said, "Tell me this: What makes this tree beautiful and strong? Where does it get its beauty and its strength?" He stopped for a moment and looked at the tree, then he said, "Well, from the roots, I guess." I asked him, "Can you see the roots?" "No," he said, "You can't." Then he said, "I get it! That is the hidden part of life, but it is the secret of this tree's beauty and strength, isn't it?"

How healthy is your root system today?

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we want to be like the trees planted by streams of water that remain vibrant, healthy, and growing in spite of drought, storm and the extremes of the winds and temperatures. As we are rooted and built up in You we continue to grow, mature, and remain firm when the raging storms of life seek to topple our faith. No matter what we're dealt we continue to live in You, rooted and built up, strengthened in our faith, and overflowing with thankfulness for all that You are to us. Amen.

Follow up comment from a faithful reader regarding Monday's message: I was thinking about it and thought "You know those disciples should have listened to the women, we’re usually always right" 😊 That reminded me of when I had to take a Logic class in college. I really struggled with that class – I could come up with the correct conclusions to the professor’s questions, but I did not understand any of the steps in his ‘formula’ which we were supposed to use to arrive at the correct conclusion. One day, he called on me in class to provide the correct conclusion – which I did. He then said, “Miss Roberts, can you tell me the steps you used to arrive at that conclusion?” So, I just responded, “Professor Mow, the only thing I can tell you is the conclusion I came up with just seemed right.” I remember him smiling and saying to the class, “Miss Roberts is proof of the theory, women aren’t always logical, but they’re usually right.” He was a great guy!

We think there's something especially beautiful about the young leaves during this season

Berks County  4/23/19 (Click to enlarge)
This scene is along Rt 501 in Berks County coming off Blue Mountain.
(Click on photo to enlarge)

Mull backyard  4/23/19
This is the backyard view of some friends in Lebanon County.

Hershey flowering tree and field  4/23/19
Flowering tree and farm field near Hershey, PA.

Our backyard Dogwood is in full bloom but it doesn't last long!

Evergreen trees 4/24/19
Here's the row of trees beside our house that have many exposed roots.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Deeper, Deeper In The Love Of Jesus"  Video  Siblings singing in the living room

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Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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